Fourth, Fifth Inning Rallies Lifts No. 1 Aggies to Series Opener
Kyle Barrett Rips First Triple of 2015 Season; Series Concludes in Nightcap Saturday
LEXINGTON, Ky. -- The top-ranked Texas A&M Aggies rallied with five unanswered runs in the fourth and fifth innings to post a 5-2 seven-inning win over the Wildcats in the opener of a series-concluding doubleheader -- extending the nation's best record to 29-2 -- on a perfect Saturday at Cliff Hagan Stadium.
Kentucky (18-12, 4-6 Southeastern Conference) jumped out to a one-run lead in the first inning after getting a leadoff triple from centerfielder Kyle Barrett. After a pair of scoreless innings, Texas A&M took advantage of a pair of infield singles to open the fourth inning, before a RBI groundout and a two-out RBI single gave the Aggies the lead and Blake Allemand hit a two-run homer in the fifth to break open the game, with Mitchell Nau adding a blast to put the game out of reach later in the inning.
The Wildcats collected nine hits in the game, highlighted by Barrett's first triple of the year. UK got two hits from Thomas Bernal, an infield hit from Zach Arnold and three hits from JaVon Shelby. Freshman Evan White extended his hitting streak to 13 games with his fifth double.
UK sophomore right-handed starter Zack Brown (2-3) suffered the loss, allowing the two runs in the fourth and the three runs on two homers in the fifth inning. A native of Seymour, Ind., Brown worked his second complete game of the year, allowing seven hits and five runs, walking four and striking out five.
Texas A&M (29-2, 8-2 SEC) starter Grayson Long (6-0) won his sixth game in his eighth start of the year. Long worked 4.1 innings, allowing one run on six hits, walking three and striking out six. With the bases loaded in the bottom of the fifth inning and one out Andrew Vinson came on in relief, escaping the jam without any damage. Vinson picked up his first save of the year, getting the final eight outs of the game.
The series will conclude later on Saturday at Cliff Hagan Stadium.
Kentucky took a lead in the bottom of the first inning, starting with a leadoff triple from Barrett, who skied a ball down the leftfield line. After a pop out, Shelby beat out the back end of a double play to score Barrett for an early UK lead.
The Aggies took the lead in the fourth inning, with Nau leading off the inning with a hard-hit infield single up the middle, with UK shortstop Connor Heady corralling the ball with a sliding stop but his throw to first base not in time. Nick Banks then chopped a ball off the plate, with the ball skidding towards the plate after hitting the cut of the infield grass, with Arnold slipping when trying to field the ball to allow Banks to reach first. After a sacrifice bunt, Ronnie Gideon groundout out to the right side to score Nau and J.B. Moss singled into shallow centerfield with two outs to give the Aggies the lead, 2-1.
Allemand opened up the game with a two-run homer, his third of the year, in the top of the fifth inning, scoring Michael Barash, who drew a walk. Nau then hit his second homer of the year, a blast over the right-centerfield fence.
GAME NOTES: Sophomore second baseman JaVon Shelby made his team-leading 82nd consecutive start ... Junior centerfielder Kyle Barrett played in his team-leading 121st career game and made his 105th start ... Sophomore right-hander Zack Brown made his seventh start of the year and the 12th of his career ... UK turned its 31st double play of the year in the first inning ... Barrett tripled for the first time of the year and the second in his career ... Barrett is the first player to lead off the first inning with a triple since Austin Cousino in 2013 ... Junior leftfielder Ka'ai Tom was hit by his fourth pitch of the year and the 13th of his career ... UK turned its 32nd double play of the year in the sixth inning ... UK is now 8-4 when scoring in the first inning and 14-4 when scoring first ... UK is 8-4 at Cliff Hagan Stadium, 4-6 in the SEC and 2-2 in the SEC at home ... UK is now 13-8 vs. a right-handed starting pitcher ... UK is 0-1 in April ... UK is 5-7 vs. top-25 foes and 2-5 vs. top-10 opponents ... UK is now 8-9 vs. No. 1 ranked teams under coach Gary Henderson ... Texas A&M leads the series, 4-3, claiming the first ever meeting in Lexington ... UK is 4-1 in all-white uniforms ... Freshman first baseman Evan White had his team-leading 12 game hitting streak snapped ... Brown worked his second career complete game ... Brown is the first UK pitcher with two complete games in a season since Alex Meyer in 2011.